Step 1. Take Inventory
I have started noticing slight changes taking place in the mindset of Dealers and Manufacturers in our Industry. It’s hard to describe, but it looks like a ripple effect that takes place when you throw a stone into a pond. If I were a betting man, (😉 😉) my guess would be that the stone hitting the water is the blast of news coming at us daily about AI, AI, AI all the way home, meaning this shit is getting real now!
That realization is that this type of technology is going to play a much bigger role in the way we do business. I mean, how many of us haven’t wondered how AI is going to impact the design and selection process with a client? The concept of “that won’t ever happen” has just flipped to “how deep is it going to go?”
It’s a good thing too because there will continue to be new and different models that dealers will compete against. It’s amazing how a drop in the market has given people reason to pause and think…. Hmmm, I better get my backside in gear and figure out what I need to do to keep my business viable enough to sell or keep rolling!
I am personally excited for these business owners and their teams because of the learning and changing journey they will be going on. That means growth! I believe the greatest asset that anybody on the team can bring to the table now is being a student and embracing change.
Okay, so let’s get to our inventory check list together and take an honest assessment of the business:
- Let’s all agree that the way to make a company better is to find the most impactful metrics and start measuring them. For those of you that live in a business cave, these are called “Key Performance Indicators” or KPI’s for short. So, the question is, do you have them and is there an easy and accurate way to measure them? (Not manual spreadsheets)
- Your Digital Storefront. That would be your website. Take a hard look at it and ask yourself three questions:
- Is it built to get visitors to “SSE”? (See, stay, and engage)
- Does a visitor get a feel for your brand, culture, and core values?
- How would they describe those things after visiting your website?
- Do you have a customer journey mapped out and if so, do you have internal process maps in place to support the customer journey that everyone is going to follow? The days of walking into a showroom and having different designers doing things four different ways are over!! That has to become the law of the land if you want any type of consistent customer experience attached to your brand. Of course, you don’t want your brand to be described as “pick a straw, any straw…” or “a box of chocolate customer experiences…you never know which one you will get.” All cute, but maybe not the best business practice you want under the hood.
- Ok…last but certainly not least…take the time to assess your team. Not the glossy one you used during the heyday…. pulse…check, warm body…check, nope! Those days are over too. This not only applies to the owner but the rest of the team as well. Are these the best people to surround yourself with as business moves forward? I always ask a manager to go down the list of their team and ask this question: If that person turned in their notice today, would you be upset or relieved? If it’s the latter…. Well, they should go! There will be a number of other criteria that you may want to see but we will get to that in time.
So, pull your head out of the day-to-day weeds you live in and get ready to step back and become a new type of leader. One that will be needed to navigate in this quickly changing landscape.
Stay tuned…. have fun…and get excited about the future! Happy trails, Thad